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Summer and weight loss: How to get the balance right
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Summer and weight loss: How to get the balance right

People tend to feel less hungry during summer but weight loss requires a truly structured approach to diet as well as exercise
Sun exposure, increase in basal metabolic rate and better mood encourage people to participate in various physical activities in summer.
People tend to participate more in physical activities during summer. (Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health)

The season does have a bearing on the weight-loss journey. Take the summer, for instance. As long as the heat is not extreme, this time of the year can be surprisingly good for engaging in many outdoor activities and sport — which is great if you want to lose weight.

Is it easy to lose weight in summer?

Summers are conducive to engaging in physical activities. People tend to be in a better mood because of increased exposure to sunlight and are more likely to eat healthy snacks (fruits, etc. to keep themselves hydrated). 

People tend to feel hungrier in winters as more energy is required to maintain body temperature. This extra energy is obtained through digestion, which helps create heat in the body — the thermogenic effect of food.

“It is possible that the appetite increases a little in order to produce this heat in the body during the winter months, while in summer people feel less hungry as the body is warmer and doesn’t crave food to generate heat,” says Dr R Nirmala, general physician and nutrition coach, Niramai Clinic, Bangalore.

Moreover, summers are ideal for physical activities such as swimming or hiking. The exposure to sunlight facilitates ample synthesis of vitamin D. The basal metabolic rate also increases, helping you burn more calories.

“People find it more difficult to lose weight in winters because they find it more difficult to get exercise — as the cold outside would make them choose the comfort of the bed and blankets rather than go for a walk,” adds Dr Nirmala.

However, you must still be mindful of the calories consumed and burnt. If the food eaten is not utilised to produce energy, then the body ends up storing the excess food as fat. This leads to weight gain, or hampers weight loss. Of course, the kind of foods you eat and their quantity matter too.

Tips to lose weight in summer

“When we consider weight-loss journeys, any time is perfect provided you are motivated to lose weight,” says Bangalore-based nutritionist Anitha Devaraj Aradhya. She suggests the following tips to get the weight-loss balance right in summer: 

Track your calories: Keep a record of your calories and avoid binge eating because food gets digested easily during summer and you tend to eat more often. “Managing calories, irrespective of the season, is important to lose weight,” says Aradhya. “This practice requires discipline and motivation.”

• Regular exercise: You should maintain a consistent exercise regime in summer. One can exercise early in the morning or in the evening. In case you have air conditioning, afternoon works too.

• Hydration: Hydration is important to ensure the body has sufficient micronutrients. We tend to sweat more during summer, which leads to the loss of essential micronutrients. “Drink more than two liters of water and replenish the electrolytes too,” adds Aradhya. “[This helps] avoid tiredness and fatigue.”

Sleep: Sleeping at odd hours and binge watching before bed is not recommended. It is essential to stick to a steady sleep routine. Proper sleep aids weight loss.

Eat local fruits: Eating seasonal fruit like muskmelons and watermelons is a must. Since watermelons are high in GI, calorie measurement and portion control are key. Mindful eating is also necessary. 

“Changing eating and drinking habits is important to lose weight,” says Aradhya. “Opt for fresh fruit juices instead of sugary or soft drinks, though having fruits is even better. Avoid eating cold food as it impairs and slows digestion. Consume food that acts as a coolant like jeera water and buttermilk.”

Takeaways

  • In summer, people tend to be in a better mood, more willing to participate in physical activities, and have healthy snacks and liquids to keep themselves hydrated and healthy.
  • You feel less hungry in summer as the body is warmer and there is no need for extra food to generate heat.
  • Weight loss depends on calorie consumption and other factors such as hydration, exercise and lifestyle changes.

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